Prevalence, Correlates, and Comorbidity of Nonmedical Prescription Drug Use and Drug Use Disorders in the United States: Results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. [CME]
J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67(7):1062-1073
© Copyright 2017 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Objective: To present national data on the
prevalence, correlates, and comorbidity of nonmedical
prescription drug use and drug use disorders for
sedatives, tranquilizers, opioids, and amphetamines.
Method: Data were derived from the National
Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related
Conditions (NESARC), a face-to-face nationally representative
survey of 43,093 adults conducted during 2001 and 2002.
Results: Lifetime prevalences of nonmedical use
of sedatives, tranquilizers, opioids, and
amphetamines were 4.1%, 3.4%, 4.7%, and 4.7%, respectively.
Corresponding rates of abuse and/or dependence on
these substances were 1.1%, 1.0%, 1.4%, and 2.0%. The
odds of nonmedical prescription drug use and drug use
disorders were generally greater among men, Native
Americans, young and middle-aged, those who were widowed separated/divorced or never married, and
those residing in the West. Abuse/dependence liability
was greatest for amphetamines, and nonmedical
prescription drug use disorders were highly comorbid with
other Axis I and II disorders. The majority of individuals
with nonmedical prescription drug use disorders never
Conclusions: Nonmedical prescription drug use
and disorders are pervasive in the U.S. population
and highly comorbid with other psychiatric disorders.
Native Americans had significantly greater rates of
nonmedical prescription drug use and drug use disorders,
highlighting the need for culturally-sensitive prevention and
intervention programs. Unprecedented comorbidity
between nonmedical prescription drug use disorders
and between nonmedical prescription drug use disorders
and illicit drug use disorders suggests that the typical
individual abusing or dependent on these drugs
obtained them illegally, rather than through a physician.
Amphetamines had the greatest abuse/dependence liability,
and recent increases in the potency of illegally
manufactured amphetamines may portend an epidemic in the
youngest NESARC cohort.